Belfast Telegraph

Bailie desperate to wrap up title

Noel Bailie wants to ensure that Linfield get as close to clinching the Irish Premier League title and as soon as possible too.

That means leaving Mourneview Park tomorrow with all three points in the bag.

Bailie has been around long enough to experience the entire season hinging on the final game of the season and it's not someting he is keen on having to go through again.

The Blues breezed to the title two years ago, winning it with five games to go, last season it was claimed a couple of matches from home and Bailie is keen to avoid a sweat by beating Glenavon and taking a big, big step towards the crown.

"We know we have to win no matter what and I wouldn't like to leave it to the last game needing three points," he said.

"Everyone knows what can happen; one slip and you are 1-0 down and anything can happen after that."

And victory against Glenavon might even be enough for the Blues to secure the Championship for a third season in succession.

That depends on the outcome of this evening's second v third battle at the Oval when Glentoran host Cliftonville.

Anything less than a victory for Alan McDonald's side will open the door for Linfield to win the league and Bailie sees the rearranging of the game for Sky Sports as an advantage for the Blues.

"It will help that we know the outcome of the Glentoran game on Friday night before we play on Saturday," said Bailie.

"We didn't play that well against them last Saturday, but it was a point gained for rather than two dropped and afterwards we were happy with the draw."

That 0-0 draw at Windsor Park last weekend leaves the Blues needing four points from their last two games to guarantee the 48th league title in the club's illustrious history.

Bailie has been involved in seven of those, so he knows what it takes to get over the finishing line.

And although four points will be enough after 19-years in the Linfield first-team he isn't about to settle for second best.

"It's in our hands and we know what we have to do," said Bailie.

"I know four points will do it, but we've said it at Linfield a million times, we'll be going for six points starting off at Glenavon.

"It will be a tough one for us, they'll have plenty to fight for when they see Linfield coming down and it will be a battle."

The Blues may be unbeaten in domestic football since Boxing Day, but Glenavon are in a run of form of their own.

They were within minutes of beating Cliftonville a fortnight ago and got the better of derby rivals Portadown in the league for the first time in seven years last weekend.

Belfast Telegraph


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